Joe Bartlett, Ashburton Cookery School

The Staff Canteen
Joe Bartlett

Joe Bartlett discusses his role as Chef tutor at Ashburton Cookery School, Devon and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Joe Bartlett

Place of work: Ashburton Cookery School, Devon

Role: Chef tutor, teaching all courses but also developing and researching future courses.

Bio: Joe has been working in catering for over ten years, working in some of the country’s best restaurants. His most recent post was Head Chef at Holne Chase Hotel, Devon, before moving to Ashburton Cookery School in 2008. 

Follow Joe on Twitter here: @JoeChefBartlett 

Chef Skills

Joe Bartlett takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How long have you been in this role?

7 years.

What are your ultimate top 5 tips for someone looking to start a career in the hospitality sector?

  • You have to be willing to give 100% commitment to the industry without forgetting who you are as an individual.
  • Be prepared to put your life on the line through the rough and the smooth.
  • Have a clear vision and goal of what you want to achieve in and throughout your career.
  • You need to stay passionate and enjoy your work, even when the chips are down.
  • You never, ever stop learning and you would be so naive to think any different. So make sure you read, research, listen and ask plenty of questions throughout your career. Knowledge is priceless!

What are the main things that young Chefs should be doing to build their CV’s up?

 I think work experience or a stagiaire within a busy working kitchen is a  good start. It gives young Chefs a taste of the industry and helps direct them to the area in which they would like to work. It creates a fantastic grounding.

Then you can apply for a job and go from there. 

I would also try to hold a job down for at least a year or two and then move on. If you progress yourself too quickly within a single establishment then you are at risk of not allowing personal development time and slowing down your learning process. There are plenty of ways to make a creme brûlée, it is vital to know a variety of recipes and then you can use the best one!

Just remember, you never stop learning!

Who are the key Chefs and restaurants that someone should be speaking to and trying to learn from?

That’s a tough one as I feel it is different for each individual. It depends on what avenue they want to go down whether it’s fine dining, gastro pubs, contract catering, bistro’s etc and the Chef is also incredibly personal. But if I had to recommend somewhere local I would look at Simon Hulstone at The Elephant, Mitch Tonks at the Seahorse and Anton Piotrowski.

I have eaten in all three restaurants and had memorable meals but as a young Chef I always looked up to Gary Rhodes for his British classics, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, they are miles apart but all show unbelievable passion for food!

Any other tips from a cookery school perspective?

Yes! Relax, work hard and follow your dreams, as anything is achievable. Cookery schools are a fantastic approach to learning new things, things that you may never learn in a professional kitchen.

We teach over 40 different courses at the cookery school, from Tapas to a 20-week Chefs academy. We quite often teach trained and qualified Chefs as they need inspiring and want to learn a new style of cooking or cuisine. It’s great!

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th April 2017

Joe Bartlett, Ashburton Cookery School